A cam follower is a component that is intrinsically tied to a cam. Cams exist in many applications–dishwashers, sprinklers, etc.–but the most well-known example is that of a camshaft in a car. The goal of a cam is to convert rotary motion to linear motion. There are multiple types of cams, including cylindrical and plate varieties.
Without a cam follower, a cam would not be of much use, as cams must make contact with followers to transfer rotary motion into linear motion. The followers are made with special cam follower bearings to make this transfer possible. Cam follower bearings, also known as track followers, can come in a variety of designs, but are generally made with an extra thick outer ring. This design allows cam follower bearings to handle high radial loads, while a soft core can accept extreme shock loads without threat of fracturing the part. Depending on the application, cam followers may require either ball or needle rollers or even special materials such as stainless steel or chrome.